Shake Your Salt Shaker OR Shake Your Salt Habit?

AHA disagrees with a new study that says no benefits to low salt diet

Contributed by Ann Stone, ANP

An expert committee, commissioned by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), reports that limiting sodium intake to below 2,300 milligrams a day has no health benefits. What’s more, the report goes on to say that low sodium intake can potentially be harmful for people with moderate to severe congestive heart failure and people over age 55 who have high blood pressure. I know what you’re thinking… “Pass the salt!” But before you grab the shaker, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a few things to say.

Don’t be swayed by new sodium studies
As you might expect, the AHA disagrees with the conclusions of the IOM study. The AHA says the new report from the IOM is incomplete in its assessment of sodium’s impact on health because it does not focus its examinations on scientific evidence that links excess consumption and high blood pressure. Additionally, the AHA says the report is missing a critical component — a comprehensive review of well-established evidence which links too much sodium to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Shaking the salt habit
I strongly agree with AHA guidelines that recommend consuming less than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. In a January 2011 article in Circulation the AHA documents a direct, progressive, consistent, and continuous relationship between blood pressure and adverse health outcomes. The article also provides strong evidence that implicates excess sodium intake with elevated blood pressure. If you’re not quite sure how to best reduce your salt intake, the AHA website offers shopping and cooking tips, free recipes and more.

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